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tv   The Beat With Ari Melber  MSNBC  January 22, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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i think i found someone who also might like the gig, mitt romney. he just started a new job as senator, but that was when he was running for senator, he said my favorite meat is hotdog, by the way, that is my favorite meat. it seems like the most important job qualification to me is you have to like the product you're selling. and mitt romney loves the product. that's all we have for tonight. we'll be back tomorrow with more. "the beat" starts now. >> we have a lot of ground to cover tonight. a top diplomat overseeing russia resigning after gop senators strike a deal to soften sanctions on a deal linked to putin and paul manafort. also, as mitch mcconnell stands by trump's shutdown, we go on the ground to see pressure building in red states. an executive who ran trump casinos says you have to understand trump's bankruptcy mindset to get where we're headed in the shutdown fight. the top story tonight is a white house on edge. a new book dishing on the chaos trump aides now anonymously
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trashing rudy giuliani and a new report from abc that almost as soon as trump won the race, a star apprentice executive producer, you may have heard of, mark burnett, was trying to link a putin affiliated american banker to donald trump's transition team. this attempted meeting did not go down, but congressional investigators honing in on the goal and why russia and rubles seemed to always be such a high priority. this has not been confirmed by nbc news. then the president's criminal defense lawyer back on the dance floor doing the giuliani walk back. he's gone from saying trump talked to cohen about a trump moscow tower to claiming that was some kind of hypothetical to now saying if they did talk about it, that wouldn't be a crime. >> understanding that they went on throughout 2016, weren't a lot of them, but there were conversations. could be up to as far as october, november. our answers cover until the election. >> just to clarify, talks of trump tower moscow went as late
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as october or november of 2016, even in some form? >> could be. >> could be. giuliani also doing a meandering interview with the new yorker that is making some waves. i want to be very crystal clear about it. the key to decoding this kind of giuliani interview is to ignore the talking points and focus only on the secrets giuliani seems to spill by accident. it is like the romantics famously said, i hear the secrets that you keep when you're talking in your sleep. well, giuliani spilling some secrets here. he mentioned secret tapes and whether st. peter will ultimately think he lied for trump at the gates of heaven. let me take a quick look with you. on the tapes, giuliani says he listened to tapes to fact check some recent media articles and tries to take it back, saying i shouldn't have said tapes. and then, when asked about lying for trump, he says, well, i'm afraid it will be on my
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gravestone. rudy giuliani, he lied for trump, adding somehow, i don't think that will be it, but if it is, so what. do i care? i'll be dead. i figure i can explain it to st. peter. getting pretty deep there. as we say around here, giuliani gonna giuliani, but even someone inside the trump administration now says they're over it. and this is a current trump aide talking about the giuliani dance. the senior administration official says basically, quote, giuliani's public comments are not helping, and they question why he keeps going on tv if nothing good can come of it. quote, don't do it. i'm joined now by barrett burger, a former u.s. assistant attorney with the eastern and southern district of new york, and barbara mcquade, former federal prosecutor, and matt miller, former chief spokesman for the justice department in the obama administration. greetings to all of you. matt miller, do you think there
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are secrets that can be found as rudy does these interviews and what does it tell you that trump aides are starting to pipe up about it? >> i think it's very difficult because you never know when he's telling the truth or not. i think it's pretty clear at this point, rudy giuliani, his best days as a lawyer are behind him. but he's actually worse as a public spokesman. when you watch his interviews, it's one thing to go on television and make admissions that are damaging to your client and happen to be factually true. it is another thing to go on television and make admissions about your client that may not even be true. this example of saying the discussions continued as far as november, october, november of 2016, an extremely damaging admission for donald trump, but it may not be true, it wouldn't match the public record we have seen in the case that seems to indicate the discussions ended in the summer of 2016. i can understand why other members of the trump legal team and other members of the trump communications team would be upset with giuliani, because he
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takes moments like this weekend when buzzfeed had this story knocked down by the special counsel's office should have been a win for him and he creates not just one but two, three entirely new damaging news cycles. >> you put your finger on it. you have done this kind of work, and it is difficult sometimes to walk the line of being accurate but also secretive about open investigations. you did it for the doj. other folks do it on the other side of these probes. this could have been a time where the news and the headline tonight is still the fallout from mueller rebutting a public media account. we covered that story last night, but instead, you have headlines and banners across tv screens about rudy talking about his gravestone saying maybe he lied for trump. >> yeah, look, i think there are a few problems. one is he doesn't have a very clear command of the underlying facts. when you go out and try to talk about an event, about events without having an understanding of the facts with something that is so important and where the facts matter so much as they do in this investigation, you're
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going to make mistakes. the other thing is he seems to have no concern about the fact that he might say something that contradicts what he said previously, what his client said previo previously, and he make these off the wall statements like this statement about what will happen when he dies and goes to heaven. you would expect an attorney in that situation to say no, i'm not worried about that. i never lie on behalf of the president because my client did nothing wrong. it's odd he said the opposite of that. >> let me go to barrett and i say i want to get into what your argument would be to st. peter if you ever have that situation. before we get to that, witness a fox news anchor basically piling on rudy, and then don jr. piling on cohen here. we're seeing some of the problems in this type of public defense. take a look. >> when was the last discussion about this trump tower deal? because rudy got everybody really confused, i have to say? >> i don't know. i don't talk about things i don't know about.
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we don't know anything about it. ultimately, it was michael cohen essentially trying to get a deal done. he was there for a long time, he wasn't exactly a deal guy. i don't think anyone took it all too seriously. >> what do you see happening there with a witness or potexally more than a witness in don jr. talking about cohen, who may have more to say in public. >> i have to say, in some small way, i agree with trump jr. in that statement that you shouldn't go and publicly talk about things that you don't know everything about. i mean, there's no need for giuliani to be giving public statements at this point. many lawyers would agree that the best way to let the facts talk is in court, when there's actually facts, when you can do it in a controlled environment. i think hot we're going to see with cohen is a very different approach when he's testifying. you're going to see this in a controlled environment. it's going to be very prepared. of course, going to not cover everything he knows about because there's going to be some areas that are still the subject
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of ongoing investigation, but you're going to see a much different type of statement than you see from giuliani. cohen is not going to get up there and ramble on for, you know, an hour about things he doesn't know anything about. it's going to be much more carefully controlled and obviously in response to questions from the congress. >> and you worked in the office that rudy used to run when he was u.s. attorney. what do you think of matt's point that he's just not, according to some analysts, as good at lawyering anymore. >> it's not heart surgery, but even in the law, precision matters. it's important to be careful with the facts, with the law. if you're not going to do that -- >> it's not open heart surgery, but if you go in to operate on the heart and then you just remove the liver and you never do anything to the heart, that's the level of mistakes we appear to be seeing. unless, and we have debated this with our folks, unless you see this as some grand strategy. i think matt's point that rudy has taken everyone away from a winning argument and back into a losing one is striking, and it
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comes at a time that we may be in. we don't know, but we may be in the homestretch of this whole probe. is this rudy's closing argument? >> they had a win there. they had a win with the special counsel's office coming and disputing buzzfeed's story, and giuliani's statements changed the focus of the conversation and in a direction that's not really good for the trump legal team at this point, which comes back to my point of there is no obligation for him to be making these kind of statements right now. especially when they were sort of on the wave of this good news story. it seems that it would be, you know, wise counsel to limit his statements to legal papers. >> barbara, your view on any of the above. >> i think one of the reasons that we're seeing rudy giuliani fumble the message on this is it's a real hot potato. he knows this is a real significant matter. there are clues out there that let us know this is a really important issue. number one is michael cohen's guilty plea. he had pleaded guilty to eight counts in the southern district of new york, and robert mueller
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insists he plead to an additional count about lying to congress about trump tower in moscow. that tells me they're paving the way for have him cooperate against others who may be implicated in that as well. and the other thing is if president trump is continuing to negotiate a deal into october and november, when he's telling the public he's not, not only does it harm his credibility, but that means russia knows he's lying, which gives them leverage over him, who is about to become the president of the united states, to be used to coerce him, to comply with their demands. so i think this is a very big deal, and i think that's why giuliani is having so much trouble handling the questions. >> and barbara, i want to get your view on some of these witnesses. you were on this program when one witness, sam nunberg, famously was saying he might defy the request to testify. he ultimately did. another set of witnesses that we talked to are also going back and forth. jerome corsi is both suing the mueller probe to some degree,
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civilly. he's also, though, now saying he's essentially cooperating and he has given testimony. then the last time he was on the show said look, he's not going to get into a debate with roger stone. that's also shifting in the news. now, quote, i'm done tolerating alex jones and roger stone's lies and defamation. i never held a government job. i'm not fbi, cia, or mossad. i never received hush money from infowars. i'm not testifying for mueller, which is to say cooperating but not going into court to implicate people. i will take appropriate steps to protect my reputation. i wonder what you think about this, because there's a lot of different things that happened in high-profeel cases, but this is, i think, yet and still unusual and how mueller is handling continuing to get testimony from these individuals as they feud in public and continue to circle roger, who reportedly has not gone in yet. >> yeah, you know, it's easy to talk tough in the public and in the press. but when you receive a grand
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jury subpoena and the consequences of failing to comply with that subpoena are sitting in jail, sometimes the path that you want to follow becomes very clear. i think with jerome corsi, he's the one who disclosed he received a plea offer from robert mueller to plead guilty to false statements relating to his conversations with roger stone regarding wikileaks. robert mueller would not have made that plea offer unless he was prepare today back it up with criminal charges. i think when he refused that, they told him the next step then will be indictment unless you want to change your mind. it appears now maybe he has done so and changed his mind and agreed to cooperate knowing that criminal charges may be the kwau consequence if he fails to do so. >> we're very careful about ever discussing anything as a potential target of a probe. but we have the written documentation that barbara mentioned, that bob mueller told jerome corsi, you're a target. this is what your indictment will look like written out. your analysis of where that
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heads and what the purpose of that is at this stage in the probe. >> i actually don't think that's so uncommon. i think prosecutors will often have a conversation with somebody that they're trying to potentially sign up as a cooperating witness where they will lay out all the charges and say this is exactly what you're facing. they don't do it as a threat, as a scare tactic. it's really so somebody has all of the information. so that they can actually make an informed decision. >> in your experience, how often does that result in indictment if the people don't play ball? >> almost always. it's very unlikely that a prosecutor would go through the trouble of, you know, drafting up a draft indictment or information, whatever the paper actually is that they were giving him, discuss the potential charges, have that cooperation conversation, and then just let it go. it's not really how prosecutors at least that work at this level operate. >> yeah, and matt miller, in closing, i wonder, as we always try to assess what we have learned and what we could do better, with the smoke cleared a little bit from all of the
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friday buzzfeed excitement, what do you think is the most important thing for people who want to do this responsibly in the press or the citizenry and plenty of members of congress were tweeting big if true. what's to you the big takeaway there? >> well, a few things. first of all, if you want to really rely on something, look for what's filed in court. when people file documents in court and the it government is willing to put the fact behind it, their reputations behind them. then when it comes to reporting, my clue is the best stories will not remain what we like to call permanent exclusives. if you see a news -- >> permanent exclusive you're saying is a warning sign. >> yeah, a story that's not matched by any other outlet. when you see a major story move, wait city someone else confirm it. if you don't, that's when you might have questions. we had other big permanent exclusives to this day haven't been confirmed. >> matt, barbara, and barrett. thanks to all of you. >> coming up, my exclusive interview with a former trump casino exec speaking out about the cost of business with trump and what it says about the
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shutdown and what trump's prep for two different state of the union speeches may reveal about negotiations. >> also, i'm going to go one-on-one with a top democrat about trump, and the case that could be linked to bob mueller. i'm ari melber. you're watching "the beat." atch. because with expedia, i saved when i added a hotel to our flight. ♪ so even when she outgrows her costume, we'll never outgrow the memory of our adventure together. unlock savings when you add select hotels to your existing trip. only when you book with expedia. walking a dog can add thousands walking this many?day. that can be rough on pam's feet, knees, and lower back. that's why she wears dr. scholl's orthotics. they relieve pain and give her the comfort
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national security question. why is the trump administration working so hard to line the pockets of a russian oligarch with links to both putin and convicted former trump campaign chair paul manafort? the administration now officially easing sanctions onnoling deripaska. he was in touch with manafort during the campaign. lifting the sanctions gives him a windfall estimated to mhundres of millions of dollar. this is literally the opposite of what trump said he was all about. >> sanctions as soon as they very much deserve it. that is a question. there has been nobody tougher on russia than president donald trump. >> not exactly. and donald trump couldn't ease these sanctions on his own. he needed at least some republican senators just to hang with him, and these eight senators later applauded for it on russian state tv. i am joined by democratic senator chris van hollen who teamed up with a republican for a bipartisan bill on potential
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russia sanctions last year. senator, good evening. let's start with plain english, what did the senate and the congress want to do, and what is donald trump's administration done to prevent that? >> well, originally, the congress on a bipartisan basis pushed the trump administration, kicking and screaming, i should say, into imposing sanctions on russia, including russian oligarchs. this, of course, was an attempt to punish russia for its interference in our elections, which of course, president trump has always contested. but finally, they did something. but it's clear that they have been just looking for ways to relax those exactly what they dd on deripaska, the major russian oligarch close to putin. they relaxed the sanctions on him. this is a big win for the kremlin. now, we tried to stop it in the congress. there was a big vote in the house of representatives. democrats and republicans voting no. in the senate, we also had a
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majority voting no, but we did not get that magic number of 60 out of 100 senators. >> let's pause on that. applauding them. i want to be clear and understand because you're hitting such an important point. what you're saying tonight, if folks are just catching up is, a majority of the house and a majority of the senate wanted to keep tough sanctions on this person. and a minority of the senate is basically filibustering, saying they won't allow a floor vote. >> that's exactly what happened the other day. we had a window of time in which the senate could act. we brought up the proposal to prevent president trump from loosening the sanctions on this russian oligarch, but a minority of our republican colleagues stopped it, and therefore did a big favor to president trump, and in doing so, gave a big win to the kremlin and putin. >> before i get to some other stuff i want to ask you about, i hope you'll forgive me for
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asking a leading question. i admit i'm doing it, but what is so darn important that those senators want to literally filibuster to help this russian billionaire? this is not a constituent, not one of these, oh, there's a rich oil executive in texas and they care about it. what for any reason justifies that to prevent what would have been otherwise just as you say a normal vote with a majority might have gotten tough on this guy? >> well, this was an all-out push from the trump administration. they sent treasury secretary mnuchin down to the hill just before the vote to say that president trump really wanted to loosen the sanctions on deripaska and what we see is what we're seeing far too often. that republican senators at least enough of them, fell in lock step with president trump and did the president's bidding, and in doing so, gave this big win to putin and the kremlin.
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it was a very shameful day. you're right, it got lost in the news. i'm sort of glad you're covering this. there was want a lot of attention given it to at the time, but that's what happened. signal the trump administration sent to russia and president putin is, you know, all the sanctions we put on, we are just looking for our first opportunity to roll them back. and we all remember president trump way back when he met in helsinki with putin. he sided with putin on the whole issue of election interference. >> right, and people can disagree or reserve judgment on what may be found out about collusion and the investigative process. that's over there, right. what you're outlining here, what we're talking about is the active current blatant public siding with these oligarchs and foreign powers. stay with me, senator. i want to also bring in someone you know, someone you have done oversight with, u.s. ambassador to russia, michael mcfaul. i want to play another diplomat, wes mitchell, who has resigned
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from his post dealing with russia for the trump administration. here's what he said at his confirmation for both of you. take a look. >> the russian government must understand that a return to normal relations will be impossible as long as it attacks its neighbors, abuses its people, and attempted to undermine confidence in america's institutions. >> a slightly tougher pose or stance than what i was just discussing with the senator. ambassador, while this individual was not a household name, says he's leaving for personal reasons, your view of that departure and what i was just discussing with the senator? >> well, i don't know the actual reasons for his departure. he said publicly he's leaving to spend time with his two kids. i accept that and respect it. but i think what's really important is he laid down the predicate there in that clip you played. those are the things that putin's doing, sanctions were imposed because he did those things. and if he doesn't change that behavior, sanctions should remain in place. and the fact that they removed
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these sanctions on deripaska's companies suggests that there was another reason why they did it. they didn't do it in response to putin changing his behavior. because putin hasn't changed his behavior. >> exactly. and again, you're both so clear on this. let me read from some of this coverage. we were told, as you say, by the administration that when they announced they were lifting the sanctions, it cast the move as being, quote, tough on russia and on that oligarch, saying he had to make painful concessions to get the sanctions lifted. in fact, we see he's freed up from hundreds of millions in dent and has the majority ownership of his company. so where do we go from there, ambassador? what is the real reason? >> well, i'm glad you remind everybody watching, because the treasury has said they have changed the behavior of mr mr. deripaska as if that's an argument for lifting sanctions on him. i knowoling deripaska. i have dealt with him. he was trying to get off the
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sanctions list in the obama era, by the way. it came up time and time again in meetings i was in. what he's done is just restru restructuring of the company slightly below. he still controls all of his companies. he got $200 million in debt relieved. that is a win forroli ole g deripaska. in return, i want to emphasize, putin didn't leave crimea. he didn't promise to not intervene in our elections in the future. he didn't do any of the things that the trump administration told us they were sanctioning him in the first place. >> so i give the final word to senator van hollen who as we have reported has been certainly banging this drum for a while. your final thoughts, sir, and should we leave, is this a bummer? do we leave downcast or do you have any other optimism or hope for the viewers? >> well, i had some optimism in the house vote, because it was a significant bipartisan vote. what this tells me is what we have known from the beginning. that only bipartisan support in
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congress can keep the pressure on russia through these sanctions. this administration never wanted to impose these sanctions. they were pushed to do it. and now what we see is every time they get a chance, they'll try to relax them in order to help putin and really do his bidding war. so i hope that as republican senators who were aiding and abetting the president in relaxing the sanctions hear from their constituents that they will learn that this is a bad idea to work with the president against the sanctions, which as the ambassador pointed out, and i want to thank him for all his efforts on this, was a concession given without getting anything in return. in fact, it helped deripaska in a big way, and the russians took no steps to address the concerns that we raised. >> you both have been clear
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about that. we're witnessing the trump administration failing its own standard, retracting what it said it was going to do on the toughness, and that leaves everyone asking why. senator van hollen and ambassador mcfaul, thank you both. >> meanwhile, republican senator confronted a town hall over this ongoing shutdown. pressure building. we'll get into it when we're back in 30 seconds. every day, visionaries are creating the future. ( ♪ ) so, every day, we put our latest technology and vast expertise to work. ( ♪ ) the united states postal service makes more e-commerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country, affordably and on-time. (ringing) ( ♪ ) the future only happens with people who really know how to deliver it. you ever get invited to a party andthen you get disinvited
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and you say, well, i feel like i'm still, you know, broadly invited. i'll show up anyway? well, donald trump moving forward with that kind of approach to what has been, we have reported, a somewhat petty back and forth between him and the speaker over the state of the union. this is now we're down to a week out from today. the reality show presidency always comes with a twist. they're now preparing for a potential different venue and different audience beyond washington. you can look at the beltway fight between trump and pelosi as one of personalities. you can also look at it as all the broader things we have been covering. we have a deadline tonight for federal workers, if there's no decision by midnight, and we don't expect one, they're going to miss another two weeks of pay. mitch mcconnell says today they'll put up a messaging bill that would reopen the government based on donald trump's offers this weekend. >> we're optimistic he might be reaching out to open up government. but then we heard what the particulars were, and it was a nonstarter, unfortunately. >> what we have here is just
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another one-sided, partisan proposal from the president. if anything, it's even more radical. >> republicans are worried about being backed into a box given that trump said he would own the shutdown, and you look at places like this. this is right outside senator lindsey graham's office in south carolina. protesters talking about the government being held hostage. other protests in mitch mcconnell's office, and take a look at billboards going up in his home state of kentucky. and then there are for many heartbreaking stories of constituents back home. >> do something. don't do what the party wants to do. do something that helps me as your constituents. >> get down, get busy, and do your job. get this shutdown ended so we can get our money. >> it's already had an impact. i don't know how long i can stay afloat. >> i have pawned everything i can imagine, and now i'm just at my wits' end. i need for us to get back to work. >> republican senator joni ernst confronted by constituents at
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her town hall. >> i am deeply ashamed that we have, at the moment, federal employees in soup lines and trying to find food for their families while they're still working. and i wonder how in the world anybody in the senate can defend that. >> i don't think we can. i'll be honest. >> the president is having a tantrum. >> well, the president is in d.c. pelosi is not. >> i am joined by the reverend al sharpton, host of politics nation. and he was just huddling with many leaders in the party at the martin luther king celebrations that your organization holds and the daily beast's eleanor clift. i waonder if we could start there. i know you had joe biden and others, and you see this as coming back to the congress.
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in the short term, trump, pelosi, personalities. in the long run, mitch mcconnell is a co equal branch. is he going to do anything to open the government? >> it doesn't appear that way. when you see the bill he's talking about bringing up, which is basically what president trump proposed in his speech saturday night, if you want to call it his speech, it is not a movement to really relieve government workers. i think people need to realize, we're not talking about democrats or republicans. we're talking about people that work for the government. some that do things that secure us, like tsa workers, like air traffic controllers. and to play them like they're pawns in a chess game between one side or the other rather than that they're human beings and american citizens that serve the american government, and you don't care they're about to go into 32, 33 days tomorrow of not being paid and some being furloughed, is about as incen
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insensitive as you can get. >> eleanor, for the members of congress who want to just wait around and hope this sticks to trump, i want to show you polling. we talk about so many issues that are roughly 50/50 or split. this isn't one of them. when you look at who is responsible for the shutdown, you have overwhelmingly trump and the republicans, and only about under a third, 31%, 29%, 36%, do you get the democrats. another way to say that is that the people blaming the democrats is smaller than even trump's historically low approval rating. so you have people who are with trump on other things who are like, yeah, but i still kind of blame him for this, maybe because he told them to. >> the democrats are defending a principle here that you don't negotiate with terrorists when they're holding hostages. and the president is holding the government hostage. so i think the democrats are on the right policy ground, although usually in those hostage negotiations, there's something going on under the table, and i'm hoping they will
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get to that point between the time-out sides. i think the republicans are feeling the heat. >> like under the table, like donald trump slipping a long memo he wrote to pelosi, a policy memo? what's going on under the table? >> i don't think that counts. that was a publicity stunt. i mean, i think democrats are still hoping they can, i think, the vice president is probably the point of contact here for the democrats. and they're trying to get mcconnell to offer a bill that would just open the government until february 8th. that would allow the government workers to get their paychecks. that would allow president trump to have his grand evening of the state of the union. and then they could either get back in the sandbox or maybe some of the emotion will have been drained because these polls, the president does read polls. he knows he's louising. he's very frustrated. he just doesn't know a way out. >> when you say he read polls, do you mean he watches polls on tv or he reads polls?
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>> he's not into the, you know, the underlying data. but -- >> you don't see him in the cross tabs, page 20? >> not in the cross tabs. but he knows that he's not winning. and you know, all of the documentation about his psychology is that he needs to win. the country is waking up. you know, in watergate, they didn't really start impeachment hearings until saturday night massacre and they got bags of mail that were so many that congresspeople couldn't open the doors to their office. this is obviously before cell phones. you now have people calling. you have indivisible and other groups in the resistance saying call your senator, even if your senator agrees with you, they need to know. >> and rev, you know, a lot of things go to defaults. you default to the story is the speaker and the president. or the congress and the white house. i think, because i know we keep
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it real around here, this is also a story about classism, and people in the white house saying, well, we'll keep getting paid or we have money, and these other people aren't going to get paid, work without their check, but they're going to announce, later eventually we'll pay them back. doesn't that expose the fact it's all a farce? if you're going to pay someone in six or eight weeks, some people can get by two months and that's fine, but a lot of people can't. isn't there something clasest to those people who have done their work, who have public service jobs, who passed their background check, well, because you're lower class, basically, you're going to get screwed royally by the shutdown. isn't that a moral failure by the president? >> it is a moral failure. it's classic classism. you can take a quote from the president. when he was addressed by the press going out to marine one one day, and they said, well, what about the people that are suffering? he said, oh, i'm sensitive to
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them. but they can adjust. well, they cannot adjust. and it shows that you're dealing with people that don't know what it is to not have money to buy milk for their children, their babies. people that can't put gas in the car because that's the only way they can move around. >> rev, as you put it, if this were a movie and the president had gone into super debt year after year and been bailed out by banked while other people, real people who have debt never get that opportunity and then he goes around and says to you, tighten your belt. it would be too grand a hypocrisy for a hollywood movie. >> you can't tighten your belt when you have been left standing in your underwear. that's what he's put 800,000 federal workers in that predicament as well as the subcontractors and contractors. and to tell them that is not only insensitive, it borders on just political ruthlessness. and i think that's where we are now. this has become ruthless. >> eleanor, final word.
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>> well, a study was done a number of years ago that a large proportion of the american population doesn't have enough cash on hand to be able to fund a $500 emergency. and we're seeing that play out. and where are the lawyers and the lawsuits? the 13th amendment banned slavery in this country. it also banned involuntary servitude. and i think people going to work and not getting paid, that should at least be grounds for a lawsuit. everybody has to get engaged in this battle because what's going on, the president really working against his own people, shutting down his own government to fulfill his own narcicisstic needs, is just something that should not happen in this country. >> this is a question you pose if we have lawyers or other activists watching, i'm curious what the answers are. what's your twitter handle? >>@eleanorclift. >> give us your brainstorms because maybe we'll follow up in a segment. we have seen a lot of lawsuits.
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we haven't seen one on involuntary servitude. if this goes months and years, there you go. >> a constitutional issue. what she raises is involuntary servitude and slavery. to make people work when you don't intend to pay them or you're not doing anything to practically pay them is the definition of slavery or involuntary servitude. >> there's an old saying, the offices of sharpton and clift, open for business. >> all right. >> appreciate both of you. >> we pay the minimum wage, federal minimum wage. >> appreciate both of you. >> and we pay. >> i'm going to mention politics nation on the weekend at that new time, 5:00 p.m. eastern. don't miss it every weekend. rev, friend of the beat. when we come back, a former trump executive speaking out on how trump's running the country like he ran his failed casinos, quote, into the ground. my exclusive interview with that exclusive guest next. with that exclusive guest next
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one of donald trump's recurring problems seems to be his employees. they know him best, but they constantly come out to condemn him. last week, michael cohen, tonight, a former aide dishing on him being out of control. j jack o'donnell recalled the time he punched a hole in the ceiling, claiming it wasn't high enough. a property that made a lot of money before ultimately going bankrupt. he said he left others holding the bag. >> atlantic city. i made a trumunds amount of money in atlantic city. hundreds of companies i have opened have thrived. >> atlantic city. i made a lot of money in atlantic city. i made a lot of money. >> you read about it. it just depends on how much you read about it. o'donnell said it was short-term profitable but long-term horrible with all kinds of problems. after o'donnell left, the casino
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did file for bankruptcy, closing in 2014. now, to be fair, that is just one of trump's atlantic city properties. he was affiliated with a total of four there, and the company operating all of them went bankrupt multiple times. with me is jack o'donnell, the author of trump, the inside story of the real donald trump. thanks for being here. >> great to be here. thanks for having me. >> you bet. what do you see in the trump you know from business and bankruptcy in what is now the longest shutdown in history? >> well, he's negotiating very similar with today with what he did with his banks. he has a strategy, number one, which is see if you can get your opponent to negotiate against themselves. so say very little. in the little you say would be no, no, no. that's what he's doing first off. because that negotiating 101, if you can get your opponent negotiating against themselves
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constantly making offers, you're in a position of strength. the other thing he tries to do is he tries to -- he becomes agreeable at some point because he's very good at the back end negotiations. what i mean by that is he makes deals, sometimes that he has no intention to keep. and then after he reneges on his deal or he defaults on his notes, he then pits the lawsuit against the individual and they wind up settling. >> it's easy to agree on a price if you don't intend to ever pay for it. that would seem to be in this situation, the shutdown on the workerser let them pay for it for however long. what do you think about his view of negotiating with speaker pelosi? do you think anything about her bothers him? >> oh, i think it's very perplexing for donald to be -- have a woman sitting across the table on such a big, visible issue. i think --
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>> you think from your time working with him, that he is specifically bothered by the fact this is a woman in power? >> oh, absolutely. he was very sensitive even to promotions of women within the organization. i promoted a woman to the first vice president of marketing in atlantic city. and the natural -- the position she had replaced the individual was on the executive committee. so i just assumed she was going to go on the executive committee. i put her on the executive committee and he almost had a heart attack. he was like, i have a woman on my executive committee. it was troubling for him. i have seen it first-hand. and of course, today, we have all witnessed his comments, his sexist and misogynist comments. he hasn't changed over the years, ar i, not at all. >> let me play for you what he said at time. we always get all sides in here, and he's claimed that he wasn't really in debt the way people said, and really forbes and these other groups were after
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him. take a listen. >> it says that you have a debt of about $3.2 billion, and that you're losing money at the rate of $40 million a year. true? >> forbes has been after me for years. consistently after me. they took properties and devalued the properties. they say the plaza hotel is not worth everybody knows it's worth. it's a total hatchet job. >> what do you view as the lessons for the congress, either party, and folks watching the shutdown and his behavior in figuring out, okay, what's the solution? >> well, listen. the solution here is to really negotiate. but you know, trump has a long history, particularly with debt, as you just displayed. where it means nothing to him. and so this is complicated, and it's really two issues. but he has -- listen, my business was the most successful
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business that he had. we made over $100 million in free cash annually, and it should have been his casino interests in atlantic city should have been the greatest success story in the history of gaming, and yet, because of his reckless spending, he crushed that business. i think he's doing the same thing with our country, if you just look at the deficit spending and the debt load he's continuing to pile on. and the workers are going to suffer from this. you know, he will take advantage of this opportunity in my mind because i don't think he's really believed in the infrastructure of the government for a long time. >> you think speaker pelosi can't fold on the hostage taking and the spending? >> i think she can't fold on this. i think she's got to stay tough with him, and you know, just stick to her guns. now, i think she should compromise to some extent. i think she needs to start talking his language. because listen, ari, you know this better than anybody.
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perception is his reality. and if they can carve a way to get a perception he's getting what he wants -- >> give him some kind of off ramp so the workers can get paid and the government can open. >> yeah, even through contingencies of some sort or performance issues in the future, but get these people paid, i think he will go for it. i think he will move if they start to talk his language a little bit. >> my last question is, did he ever get mexico to pay for any of the buildings you guys built? >> no, i don't believe so. >> i just wanted to check. jack o'donnell, thank you for your unique insights having been there. >> up ahead, new clues in this mystery mueller related case that many people think is mueller related going to the supreme court. next. next
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it's mueller related. i want to tell you tomorrow we have something very special, we think unusual, related to the mueller probe. on the show tomorrow. 6:00 p.m. eastern. that's all i can say. don't go anywhere. "hardball" with cris chris matt is up next. an offer he couldn't refuse. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews. live from washington where the bs is sky high. with rudy giuliani all over the tv and the president's state of the union still in the darb. the question is will he or won't he? will donald trump appear next tuesday night? and will rudy ever not appear? claire mccaskill will join me to talk about the showdown

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